Gone Girl

Gone Girl Literary Elements


Mystery; Crime Fiction

Setting and Context

The novel opens in July 2012 in the town of North Carthage, Mississippi. Memories and diary entries provide information about the years leading up to the main events.

Narrator and Point of View

The novel is told from the alternating viewpoints of Nick and Amy. Each of their sections are narrated in the first person. In the first section of the novel, the chapters told from Amy's point of view are diary entries which are later revealed to have been fabricated by her to give a false impression of events and of her personality.

Tone and Mood

The tone of the novel is often dark and foreboding. Suspense is created through the possibility that Amy has been abducted and possibly murdered, and also through the presence of Nick as an unreliable narrator. The reader is never sure what to believe, creating a mood of suspense and tension. The tone of the novel can also be very cynical. Amy is very sharp and bitter in her perspective of how women are regarded in society, while Nick comes to realize that perception and appearance matters more than the truth.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Nick Dunne is the protagonist of the novel; his wife, Amy Elliott Dunne, is the antagonist.

Major Conflict

The major conflict occurs over Nick's efforts to reveal that he is innocent, and that Amy has orchestrated a plot in order to frame him. Amy has gone to great lengths to ensure that this does not occur, and that Nick is found guilty of her murder.


The climax of the novel occurs when Amy abruptly returns to Carthage, solving the mystery of her disappearance and establishing Nick's innocence.


Throughout the novel, Nick's descriptions of Amy creates foreshadowing. Although the rest of the world sees Amy in an extremely positive light, he repeatedly alludes to the darker aspects of her personality. Long before Amy's big deception is revealed, these hints foreshadow that Amy may not entirely be who she appears to be.






See section on Imagery


There is a paradox in that after all of the awful things Amy has done, the novel ends with the apparent establishment of a happy family. Nick has no plans to ever leave Amy, and behaves like a devoted husband and father-to-be. The expected baby will draw them even closer together and make them seem, on the surface, like the perfect family. The couple also experiences an honest relationship for the first time in their history together. While all is not as it seems, the whole experience seems to have brought the couple closer together in a perverse fashion.


There are parallels between some of the female characters. Margo and Andie, two women Nick relies on and finds comfort in, are both easygoing and light-hearted. They think well of Nick and try to make life easy for him. These parallels suggest there is a particular type of woman Nick is drawn to. When Nick and Amy first meet, she also seems to exemplify some of these traits. However, Amy turns out to be the completely opposite type of woman. The parallelism therefore reinforces that Nick and Amy were well-suited to each other.

Metonymy and Synecdoche